Editor, Times-Union:

In Humboldt, Iowa, in 1915, teachers had to agree to certain rules in order to retain their teaching contracts, to-wit:

1. Not to get married.

2. Not to keep company with men.

3. Not to loiter downtown in ice cream stores.

4. Not to leave town at any time without permission of the board.

5. Not to get in a carriage or automobile with any man except her brother or father.

6. Not to dress in bright colors.

7. Not to dye her hair.

8. Not to wear dresses more than 2 inches above the ankle.

9. To keep the school room neat and clean: a. Sweep floor at least twice daily; b. Scrub floor once weekly with hot water and soap; c. Clean blackboards once daily d. Start the fire at 7 a.m. so room would be warm by 8.

While rules for teachers have changed greatly over the past 100+ years, a close look at some of today’s rules begs the question if all changes have been for the good. Today’s prospective teachers must have at least a four-year college degree to begin teaching and eventually a master’s degree to continue teaching. Many states, if not all, also require several hours of refresher courses, conference attendances, and workshops. Teachers must begin the school day (and year) before students arrive as well as remain for designated periods of time after students leave. Teachers may or may not be given a period of “prep” time in which to grade papers, plan lessons, organize the classroom, or, if lucky, take a breath or use the restroom.

Consequently, innumerable hours of work at home are necessary.

Teachers must provide extensive lesson plans complete with goals, objectives, etc., on demand.

Often they are required to also participate in or conduct extracurricular activities. They must adapt their teaching methods to the individual learning abilities of each student, and they must evaluate each students’ progress on a regular basis ... regardless of the number of students in their class(es).

Today’s teachers are being told to teach but not editorialize; to watch for and report any signs of abuse or harm inflicted upon students but to never address students’ emotional issues — even if observed or overheard. Teachers must maintain classroom discipline while having little or no authority to mete out reprimands that might curb a child’s “right” to self expression. They are being criticized for and barred from teaching truth; they are practically being accused of pedophilia and “grooming” children to examine and question their sexuality.

In spite of all that, and because of increasing school shootings, some legislators now think teachers are the best solution for saving the children. They just need training in the use of weaponry and warfare and to be ready at any moment to hide the children, don protective armor, retrieve a weapon, load it, and kill any intruder who barges unannounced into the classroom … with an AR-15. Perhaps another workshop can be arranged.

Those 1915 rules don’t look so harsh now.

Jeanne Schutz

Winona Lake